One slow weekend we decided to check out Takayama-sha, a site in Fujioka linked to the old way of producing silk, namely the care and cultivation of silkworms, and the harvesting of their cocoons to make silk. Takayama is one of four places in Gunma relating to silk production that has been submitted as a set for consideration of the World Heritage Society to become a protected Heritage site in 2014. If the application goes through, Takayama as well as three other old-style buildings across Gunma relating to the beginning stages of silk production will be acknowledged as important to the historical production of silk and will help bring tourism to Gunma. So Fujioka is trying to promote these places by passing out flyers and advertising it.
A lot of the signage is new, but not in English yet. However the gist of it is that the building was used for breeding and cultivating silk worms, as well as for research purposes and as a training center for the greater area.
These are the four candidates submitted as a group to the World Heritage site people. The first one is Takayama-sha, the second the big brick silk mill in Tomioka, which is pretty famous in its own right, the third is a school in Isesaki dedicated to teaching about the care of silk worms, and the fourth is a storage area (like the pit above but natural) in Shimonita.
It was a really interesting experience to go see it, and I definitely want to visit the other three too!
Next we went to Takenuma, a lake nearby since we were in the area.
There were lots of stray cats
And roubai flowers… in English this is called allspice or wintersweet according to google. Roubai are the first flowers to bloom in the new year, usually from about mid-January to mid-February. They smell REALLY good and are strong, although the flowers aren’t much to look at.
After that, Kenji wanted to go get a haircut in Fujioka, so I walked around to some of the shrines nearby to practice using my wide angle lens on the camera.
Kenji translated this sign, so I took a picture for him